Role of Love Hormone Oxytocin In Male Sexual Function Discovered

Japanese researchers have come closer to determining the precise ways in which oxytocin – commonly known as ‘the love hormone’ – plays in male sexual function. Their new study appears to confirm that oxytocin can increase not only sexual activity in males, but also the number and strength of male erections.

It’s been known that sperm ejaculation in both human males, and in small rodents such as rats, is controlled via nerve impulses in the spinal column. It had been previously thought that oxytocin in the brain triggers in some way the required nerve activity in the spinal column for erection and ejaculation to happen. The exact way in which this happened was unclear. Now it appears that this latest study, conducted on male rats at Okayama University in Japan, has shed light on the precise methods by which the love hormone in the brain, transmits down to the spinal column, and results in erections and ejaculations in the penis. The researchers, led by Professor Sakamoto, expressed hope that their findings may result in treatments for male sexual dysfunction.

Oxytocin is transferred from the brain to various parts of the body by the blood, and from neuron to neuron through structures called “synapses.” However, the precise mechanisms by which sparsely dispersed oxytocin fibers–structures responsible for responding to oxytocin in the central nervous system–cause the activation of widely distributed receptors remain unclear.

The researchers from Japan investigated a novel non-synaptic mode of oxytocin transport across the central nervous system. When asked to explain this process, Prof Sakamoto refers to an interesting analogy: “Overall, the endocrine system, which acts on widespread distant organs via the circulation, resembles a ‘broadcasting satellite’ communication, whereas synaptic transmission resembles the hard-wired ‘ethernet.’ Accordingly, the localized volume transmission of peptides resembles ‘Wi-Fi’ communication, since it is a hybrid of both endocrine (satellite) and synaptic (ethernet) systems, and may be the predominant mechanism of oxytocinergic modulation of socio-sexual behavior and cognition throughout the central nervous system.”

It is already known that spinal regions like the spinal ejaculation generator (SEG) are known to control sexual functions in male rodents. To assess the role of oxytocin in copulatory and ejaculatory responses, the team injected oxytocin into the spine of male rats. The gastrin-releasing peptide or GRP neurons are an important component of the SEG, as they control the lower lumbar region connected to muscles at the base of the penis, thereby controlling erection and ejaculation.

Oxytocin caused an increased sexual activity and neuronal activity in injected animals. More specifically, oxytocin was found to directly activate SEG/GRP neurons via oxytocin receptors, which detect oxytocin, and influence male sexual function in the rat lumbar spinal cord. Using an oxytocin receptor antagonist, which reduces the activity of oxytocin receptors, resulted in a latency and decrease in number of sexual activity and ejaculatory responses in majority of the animals, confirming the importance of oxytocin.

The question remained about the transport of oxytocin, however. Electron microscopy images acquired from slices of the lumbar region ruled out the presence of synaptic vesicles or connections. Upon stimulation of exocytosis ex-vivo, they were able to observe oxytocin transport mediated by a more passive diffusion in extracellular spaces at non-synaptic sites.

Highlighting the importance of the study, Prof Sakamoto remarks, “Now that we have uncovered a novel neural mechanism-the ‘localized volume transmission’ of oxytocin from axons-involved in controlling male sexual function in the spinal cord, we can hope that this may lead to the development of treatments for male sexual dysfunction.”

This study thus presents a completely unprecedented role for oxytocin in male sexual function, in addition to its long-standing “female-centric” role. Learning more about this “love hormone” may indeed help us foster healthier and long-lasting loving relationships!

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-11/ou-lbo111820.php

TED Talk on Pheromones by Tristram Wyatt

As far as I know, the only ever TED talk devoted to the subject of pheromones. Presented back in 2014 by Tristram Wyatt, who is the respected senior researcher in the department of zoology at the University of Oxford. As Mr Wyatt explains, although there is still a lack of definitive scientific proof that pheromones play a role in human sexual behavior, in theory they should, just as they do in virtually every other sexually reproducing animal on Earth (including primates).

Wyatt proposes that we may be looking for evidence in the wrong way, and that self-reporting surveys and the like, which make up the bulk of present day efforts to prove the efficacy of specific pheromone candidates, might be very unreliable. He claims that we need to be observing humans as we would any other animal, and interestingly makes the suggestion that one of the most promising of possible pheromone leads is a a nipple secretion from the areola glands produced by all lactating mothers. Apparently, this secretion stimulates suckling by any baby, not just their own. The similarities with oxytocin are obvious.

Tristram Wyatt expounded his thesis in the form of an academic paper a year after his TED talk, and it can be viewed here.

Pheromones Could Improve Pet Relations

Pheromones could be the key to harmonious relations between pets living under the same roof, according to a group of animal behaviour scientists from the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom.

Led by Professor Daniel Mills and Dr Miriam Prior, the research team investigated whether two popular pet pheromones – Feliway Friends (for cats) and Adaptil (for dogs) – would lead to a reduction in troublesome behavior between cats and dogs living in the same household. Apparently, they found just that. They even observed more friendly greetings between cat and dog. To the researcher’s surprise, it was the pheromone for dogs (Adaptil) that appeared to create the most potent effect in creating a harmonious household. This was somewhat unexpected, because it has long been thought that the cat plays a more important role in determining the relationship it has with the dog, rather than the other way around.

The pet owners involved in this new scientific trial reported weekly on the frequency of 10 specific undesirable interactions and seven specific desirable interactions between their cats and dogs. They were split into two groups; one group using Feliway Friends and the other using Adaptil, with the pheromones supplied in unlabelled packaging and randomly assigned by an independent staff member such that neither the participants nor the researchers knew which product was being trialled in each household until after the statistics had been collected.

The researchers were aware that in many households, the comfortability of the cat seems to have a stronger influence over the quality of the cat-dog relationship. It could therefore be seen as surprising that it was the product releasing dog pheromones which was seen to increase specific desirable interactions.

Miriam, a Lincoln-based vet who undertook the work as part of her postgraduate degree in Clinical Animal Behaviour at the University of Lincoln, said: “While it might be expected that Feliway Friends would be more effective in multi-species homes given the apparently stronger contribution of the cat’s comfortability to the quality of the cat-dog relationship, this did not appear to be the case. Our results might be explained by the behaviour of the dog being the primary determinant of the cat’s quality of interaction with it.

The scientific study was published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science and reported on at Science Daily.

The love hormone Oyxtocin has also been shown to play a role in pet relations, both with each other and their human owners.

Oxytocin Could Reverse Alzheimers and Treat Other Cognitive Disorders

Many studies have already shown that the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin could play a role in treating cognitive disorders that range from autism to schizophrenia. A promising new study published last month by researchers at the Tokyo University of Science suggests it could even reverse Alzheimer’s disease. That terrible ailment that afflicts so many elderly people across the world, is known to have as one of its causes a build up in the brain of the protein amyloid β. It is thought that this protein affects the signaling ability of neurons in the brain. In this latest study using mouse models, it appeared that oxytocin somehow reverses the degradation of this neuronal signaling ability caused by the build up of amyloid β, although exactly how it manages this feat is yet to be established.

According to a report in Science Daily :

Prof Saitoh remarks, “This is the first study in the world that has shown that oxytocin can reverse Aβ-induced impairments in the mouse hippocampus.” This is only a first step and further research remains to be conducted in vivo in animal models and then humans before sufficient knowledge can be gathered to reposition oxytocin into a drug for Alzheimer’s. But, Prof Saitoh remains hopeful. He concludes, “At present, there are no sufficiently satisfactory drugs to treat dementia, and new therapies with novel mechanisms of action are desired. Our study puts forth the interesting possibility that oxytocin could be a novel therapeutic modality for the treatment of memory loss associated with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. We expect that our findings will open up a new pathway to the creation of new drugs for the treatment of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.”

Although oxytocin is not a pheromone, it is a hormone molecule that does appear to have a similar role in mating and attraction, in that it appears to influence these social behaviors (and many others) in an invisible way and can be transmitted internasally from person to person.

True Pheromones Complete Pheromone Attraction System For Men

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Pheromones in products (vary between each product) include Androstenol – shown to influence female sexual behaviours and even the menstrual cycle, Androsterone – found to cause women to rate the attractiveness of men higher, Androstadienone, & Androsterone. Other pheromones include Estratetraenol – found to increase male testosterone as well as thought to play a role in the female menstrual cycle. Some of the products also contain copulins – female pheromones that have been shown to increase male sexual confidence.

Top Five Best Pheromone Sprays for Men in 2020

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Scientists Find More Evidence Of Sexual Pheromones In Primates

Science has taken a surprisingly long time to uncover the truth about pheromones, in particular the role they play in human and primate mating. Now Japanese scientists may have come close to establishing to everybody’s satisfaction that pheromones do exist in at least primates. If so, it would be harder than ever to claim that they would not also play a part in the mating of our own naked ape species.

As a report in this week’s National Geographic magazine points out, scientists only discovered the first pheromone in 1959 (bombykol, the scent of the female silkworm moth). Despite initial beliefs that pheromones would only exist in insects, scientific researchers have gradually worked their way up the evolutionary ladder to discover similar scent molocules that influence sexual behavior in rodents, pigs, and other mammals. More recently, various research has indicated the presence of pheromones in the ring-tailed lemurs of Madagascar, and this week a Japanese study into the cute little primates added further weight to the theory.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo recently added to that scent profile, finding three additional chemicals called aldehydes, which caused the females to linger longer around the male’s scents.

“We are surprised that the identified odors in this study smell relatively good to humans —fruity and floral,” says study co-author Kazushige Touhara, a biochemist at the University of Tokyo.

To be considered sex pheromones, these odors will have to be shown to affect only lemurs and increase their mating chances, Touhara says. If that is the case, they would be the first sex pheromones ever found in primates.

Social Distancing Is Playing With Our Hormones

Social distancing is likely playing around with our oxytocin levels – the ‘love hormone’ that plays a key role in bonding, trust, and human relationships. However, it’s not clear if it’s as straightforward as one might think. Although social interaction is known to raise oxytocin, research has also indicated that social isolation and stress can also raise oxytocin levels, presumably as a means to encourage the seeking out of social contacts.

While the impact of social isolation on levels of the love hormone is unclear, oxytocin has been linked to various objective markers of good health, such as reduced blood pressure and heart rate. It’s clearly a good thing for your body to be producing in these locked down times, so how can you raise it naturally when social distancing rules are in place?

While video chat apps such as Zoom and FaceTime cannot completely replace human contact, they are the next best thing in raising oxytocin levels healthily and naturally, as they allow eye contact and a real feeling of connecting to another person.

Writing in Psychology Today, Erin Leyba advises more frequent hugs for family members, and if physical contact is not possible, then regular chats on Zoom or other video conferencing apps.